It was in December last year; we were overjoyed with the realization that we are going to be parents for the second time in our blessed married life. I had just begun being back to normal life, after a hectic year of work. Christmas went by, New Year came, post the first few weeks of the new year, we took our first appointment with Birthvillage. I could really hear a sigh of relief from Sumi, once our first sitting was over. We realized that we have finally come to the right place and that we are in trustworthy hands. The very concept of midwives was new to me. We shared the old traumatizing events we had for the 1st delivery. We realized that it was not a necessary C – section propelled by our lack of awareness. I had witnessed the happiness that my friend had, after their delivery at Birthvillage, and I knew we were doing the right thing. Joshua, our son used to take care of Mommy, and be present for all the prenatal visits, and was always as eager as each of us, to listen to the baby’s movements and heartbeats. We were just like toddlers in a new world of care. We were advised and advocated to take special care of nutrition for Mamma and the baby. I am sure that whatever it takes, it is the diet and the exercise along with the positivity of all in Birthvillage that led to the “Happy Day”. We felt special every time we were checked for our diet and exercise. We got our regular dose of mentoring for being on track with nutrition and exercise. The Lamaze classes were packed with information, which was transformed into knowledge at the end of each session, after the FAQ discussions and role-plays we did. The experience of factual realization was overwhelming. We understood the deprivation that every Indian Family underwent with the lack of comfortable and friendly support systems in hospitals in India. We were very blessed among the other 100 couples like us who came in touch with Birthvillage. Whenever I discussed with my colleagues and friends, making them aware of the services, they were non-receptive at first, though finally, they gauged the transformation as an individual I underwent and gave in to recognizing this as a center of excellence. Time flew and finally, we arrived in the 36th week. We were not yet ready. Our bag was not packed as yet. Finally, after being gunned at, we packed and got ready. We waited, Sumi used online monitors on the iPad and observed closely. Finally, we were advised to give up such monitoring and we waited. After 36 weeks, the world around me started asking too many questions, to the extent that I had to stop talking to my neighbors. 40 weeks had passed by, we knew the day is close. The regular routine checkups continued, and Whatsapp and SMS were to our advantage. We were in the kitchen and suddenly came out the Mucus Plug. We were thrilled, though not sure whether it was it. Confirmed with Priyanka. Waited few more days and morning 7 am on 17th August 2014, we woke up to feel the contractions which were rhythmic and in frequent intervals of 5 minutes. We thought it would take more time. Sumi felt a little wet and we got the first feel of her water break. Since there was no gush of water, as should be, I went to get breakfast and our Tender Coconut supply for the day. We had confirmed with Priyanka and she asked us to observe and keep her posted. She left for church. By the time we were good to go, Priyanka returned the missed calls from our end and confirmed the same. We were thrilled, yet Sumi’s pain was getting stronger. Joshua, our Hero, had to be dropped at my uncle’s place. The idea was canceled and we drove straight to the center. We reached at 10.30 am. We were welcomed by our midwives professionally dressed in their Birthing Attire. They looked cool. We were escorted to the room. I and Joshua got the luggage out of the car and saw to it that all things were in place. Joshua waited outside the room, on the couch, all excited and equally tensed. The initial examinations were done and the gush of water came. She was ready to birth. We were guided to the Birthing stool, I was behind and supported her on my hands. It felt good that this moment we were together. She could push down with her bearing down efforts coming onto my hands, I was happy that I could support her. She was also very happy that she was in my hands. By 11.15 she was assured that within 15 minutes more, with the right focused push we will finish the process. This was a motivating trigger, and Sumi did her best. Joshua gave his share of motivation by shouting from outside “Push, Push” and “You can do it amma”, as did me. Our girl’s head was out and we waited for the rest of her to come out with one last push and Priyanka received the baby into her arms and we heard the first cry. So touching it was! And the baby was placed on Sumi’s bosom. It was the 1st skin on skin experience for both Sumi and baby. Later came my role, where I was honored with the opportunity to cut the cord. It was a great feeling. And the little one was received by me with all joy. The joy that all fathers should be blessed with. She was very cute and slippery. I held her with abundant caution. Interestingly, the cord was very short and it had a velamentous insertion. It is God’s miracle and design that we witnessed and were part of. Praise God, in Jesus’s name for this wonderful experience. Joshua was allowed inside and he was thrilled and sang our soothing song for her. He was a proud brother. The care and the professionalism with which all at Birthvillage, handled the 8 months of adventure for us was just mind-blowing. Sumi is a strong and blessed person. Her strength as a woman is reinforced. It took only time till 11.35 am for the process to be completed. This was the biggest blessing we had. After this, she was cared for, fed, and bathed till the next day morning where Sumi got to travel back home. The birth Story of “Rachel Kollannur” will always be a good one to cherish for all 3 of us. Thank you, Priyanka. Thank you, Donna. Thanks to Bincy, Smija, Rohini, and Chechi for the help and support.

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